Google and Microsoft to introduce 'kill switch' features on smartphones to deter theft
New software will allow users to remotely lock smartphones after a theft
Google and Microsoft will add “kill switch” features to their Android and Windows Phone devices in order to deter smartphone theft.
The feature allows users to remotely deactivate their smartphone from a desktop and can either be ‘hard’ kill switches (where the stolen device is permanently unusable) or ‘soft’ (where only ‘unauthorised users’ are locked out). It’s not known which variety Google and Microsoft will be implementing.
The two companies signed the agreement with the New York Attorney General and means they will be joining Apple and Samsung, who have already introduced similar capabilities.
Apple’s kill switch – called Activation Lock – was introduced to iPhones with the iOS 7 update last year. A report from New York State said that following its introduction theft of Apple devices fell by 17 per cent in New York City in the first five months of 2014.
Similarly, iPhone robberies have fallen by 24 per cent in London and 38 per cent in San Francisco in the six months after Activation Lock was introduced.
"An activated kill switch converts an easy-to-sell, high-value multimedia device into a jumble of plastic and glass, drastically reducing its street value," said the report by the New York Attorney General.
Smartphone theft has proved to be a growing problem internationally as high-value objects with an eager re-sale market happy to look the other way on 'second hand' devices.
In 2013 roughly 3.1 million smartphones were stolen in America - double the number in 2012 - and one in three Europeans experience the theft or loss of a mobile last year.
The world's appetite for smartphones shows no sign of abating either, with 2 billion devices expected to be online by 2015 channelling 83 per cent of the world's internet usage.
Life & Style blogs
The sickening truth about food banks that the Tories don't want you to know
Migrant boat disaster: Ukip candidate mocks victims in sickening Twitter post
Nigel Farage wants the BBC to stop making programmes like Doctor Who, Strictly Come Dancing, and Top Gear
Global warming: Scientists say temperatures could rise by 6C by 2100 and call for action ahead of UN meeting in Paris
General Election 2015: Britain would become a 'communist dictatorship' under Ed Miliband and Nicola Sturgeon, claims wife of Michael Gove
Rupert Murdoch berated Sun journalists for not doing enough to attack Ed Miliband and stop him winning the general election
- 1 Sofyen Belamouadden murder: The inside story of a crime that horrified Britain
- 3 Company breaks open Apple Watch to discover what it says is 'planned obsolescence'
iJobs Gadgets & Tech
£70000 - £90000 per annum + bonus + car allowance + benefits: Ashdown Group: H...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Application Sup...
£28000 - £32000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Systems Analyst...
£40000 - £48000 per annum + bonus and benefits: Ashdown Group: European Recrui...